Want to know how to travel in style, just like the pros? We check in with frequent fliers to find out how often they fly, their favorite destinations and what they never leave home without.
Name: Sherry Ott
Occupation: Travel blogger and photographer
Hometown: Peoria, IL
Residence: Denver, CO
College: University of Nebraska and Creighton University
College major: MBA
Facebook: Ottsworld Travel and Life Experiences
Pinterest: Ottsworld Travel
YouTube: Sherry Ott
Short bio: Sherry Ott is a long-term traveler, blogger and photographer with one goal in mind—to make you wish you were somewhere else. She writes about her solo around-the-world adventures on Ottsworld.com and her social media channels. She has lived in Vietnam, hiked the Annapurna Circuit with her father, driven 10,000 miles from London to Mongolia in the Mongol Rally, walked the across Spain on the Camino de Santiago, kayaked in Antarctica, and driven an auto rickshaw across India for charity. She continues to seek out epic adventures to intriguing places in order to challenge herself and inspire people to overcome their fears and reap the benefits of travel.
How often do you fly? I fly about 4 times a month.
How many countries have you been to? I sort of lost track—but approx. 67.
How many continents have you been to? 7
Earliest travel memory: I did a road trip with my parents from Peoria, Illinois, to Eugene, Oregon, when I was 11 (1981). I kept a little handwritten journal and had a Kodak 110 camera. I kept track of everything I ate, where we stayed and where we got gas. I even tracked all of the prices of it all. When I got home I made a little photo album with all of the writing and pictures. I now look back on it and wonder if this is what got me into blogging!
Favorite American city: New York City! I lived there for three years and I love the diversity of the city. There really is never a dull moment, and so many great neighborhoods to explore and photograph—it’s never-ending!
Favorite international city: Inuvik, Canada. I find all cities and people located in extreme places so fascinating.
Least favorite country: Egypt.
Friendliest people in the world: Jordan surprised me in many ways, but the most surprising thing was the generosity, kindness and openness of the people. It started with the family I lived with but it continued to every person I met.
Country with the meanest immigration officers: Russia—I’ve spent hours trying (as well as bribe money) to get into Russia in the past! I did the Mongol Rally five years ago and had to drive through a number of countries, but it was always Russian officers who would give us the hardest time and ask us for money to get through. Driving across boarders is a whole different world than entering through airports. It seems as if all the “rules” go out the window when you are driving across!
Favorite World Heritage Site: Wrangel Island in Russia is my favorite UNESCO site. The island gained UNESCO World Heritage status in 2004. It was the first arctic object in the UNESCO list. It was chosen as an outstanding example of the evolutionary development of the arctic landscape and ecosystem diversity on the earth. And it certainly fits that bill. It’s home to polar bears and other incredible wildlife, but the thing I loved the most about it was how remote and unknown it was. It’s an island that only a few hundred people have ever seen or walked on. A visit to Wrangel Island is truly a unique once in a lifetime experience.
Favorite airline: Singapore Airlines.
Aisle or window: Aisle…easier to get up and use bathroom!
Favorite U.S. airport: Denver!
Favorite international airport: Amsterdam.
Favorite cruise line: Heritage Expeditions specializing in small (50 passengers), simple expedition cruises. I’ve been to the Arctic and Antarctic with them and adore the simplicity of life on an expedition ship. This is not about fancy cruising, it’s about getting you to incredibly unique hard-to-reach places that only Heritage can make it to.
Favorite travel credit card: I just got the Chase Sapphire Reserve finally!
Favorite island: Macquarie Island (Australia) is part of the Subantarctic Islands that few people know about. It’s a penguin wonderland! There were 50,000 of them and 50 of us. We officially were in the minority. The animals are in charge, we are the visitors, and suddenly we have to play by their rules. There are few places on the planet where humans are the visitors, however this rarely traveled southern part of the globe is one of them. Some might be intimidated by being in the minority outnumbered by 49,950, but not me. This is exactly why I came on this expedition to Eastern Antarctica—to feel small.
Favorite National Park: Lake Clark National Park in Alaska is one of the least-visited National Parks where you can only get there by float plane.
Favorite fancy restaurant: Celler de can Roca in Girona, Spain, voted best restaurant in the world twice!
Favorite hole-in-the-wall: Any bar in Ireland!
Favorite airport restaurant: I can’t explain why—but more often than not I stop at McDonald’s when I’m at an airport!
Favorite bar: The Lobby Bar, part of the Hotel els Caçadors in Ribes de Freser, Spain. It specializes in serving gin. In fact that’s all they serve—and they have over 100 bottles of different gin. I think the most fascinating thing it to watch them make gin and tonics there. You’ll be surprised when you learn that you’ve been making them all wrong your entire life!
Favorite fruit: Mangosteen, normally found in Southeast Asia. I fell in love with them when I lived in Vietnam. Sadly, it’s really hard to find them anywhere else in the world!
Favorite food: I lived in Vietnam for a year and fell in love with pho in the south! As well as banh mi…and everything else I could buy from little vendors on the street!
Least favorite food: Anything in Mongolia—dried, boiled mutton is not something I ever really want to eat again. Ironically though Mongolia is my favorite country I traveled to—but don’t go for the food!
Drink of choice (in the air and on the ground): In the air: ginger ale. On the ground: gin and tonic.
Favorite travel movie(s): Walter Mitty. Plus, I really loved Revolutionary Road—which is an odd pick I know. But the wife in the movie so badly wanted to escape and see the world, I felt like it was a big testament to travel even though it was a pretty depressing movie!
Favorite travel show(s): BBC’s Planet Earth series.
Top 3 favorite travel newsletters/magazines/blogs: AFAR.com, Adventure.com.
Favorite travel website(s)—besides JohnnyJet.com, of course! Kayak.com, Airbnb.com.
5 things you bring on a plane: Noise-canceling headphones, ExOfficio jacket that turns into neck pillow, a big scarf in case I get cold, comfortable heavy socks, and a stash of Clif Bars just in case.
What do you like least about travel? Even though I lived out of a suitcase for 10 years without a home, my least favorite thing about travel is packing!
What do you want your loved one to buy you from an airport Duty Free store? Gin! Good gin!
Favorite travel app(s): I don’t know if it’s an “app,” but the app I use the most when I travel is Google Maps. It has absolutely everything I need: reviews, directions, distances, public transport…I’m not sure how I ever started traveling with out it back in 2006!
I’m embarrassed I haven’t been to: Southern Spain or Portugal.
Worst travel moment: When a married man I thought was normal/safe tried to aggressively hit on me in remote Turkey in his car, it really shook me, but thankfully all was ok.
What’s your dream destination? It’s always Antarctica—I would go back as often as I could. However my dream destination I haven’t been to yet is probably Greenland.
Favorite travel charity: Hello Future. A good friend of mine started up this charity to improve refugee well-being and self-reliance. Training is geared towards kids and teenagers to make them more mobile technology savv.
Best travel tip: Always say YES! The simple word “yes” will take you in directions you never imagined! You open yourself up to the unknown, and push yourself when you are open to trying new things. The best travel moments I’ve had are when I said “yes” to something that wasn’t easy to say yes to!
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